Heavy drinking during adolescence is a clear warning sign of a troubled future. If you’re seeking information about how to help an alcoholic child, calling us is a sure step in the right direction. This private, confidential helpline will put you in touch with a wealth of resources on alcoholism treatment and recovery. The next time you say to yourself, “My kid drinks too much,” pick up the phone and call the helpline.
Signs Your Child Might Have Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a serious but preventable disease. In the United States, people under the age of 21 are not allowed to purchase alcohol. Unfortunately, the threat of legal trouble isn’t enough to prevent many alcohol abuse in children. Signs that your own child may be drinking include the following:
- Alcohol bottles hidden throughout the house
- Erratic behavior and angry outbursts
- Poor performance in school or skipping classes
- Loss of interest in former hobbies
- An odor of alcohol near your child
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the earlier in life a person begins drinking, the greater their odds of developing alcoholism. Your son or daughter’s drinking is not only illegal, but can lead to serious negative effects on their health and well-being. A teen’s brain and cognitive abilities are still developing. Drugs and alcohol interfere with this development process, leading to all sorts of consequences later in life. If you find yourself thinking, “My child is an alcoholic,” then it’s time to consider an intervention.
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How to Help My Alcoholic Child
As a parent, education is essential when deciding how best to help a child with a drinking problem. You will need to do background research on the causes of alcoholism, especially alcoholism in youth. This can be an emotionally trying experience, to say the least. You may feel that some of the blame for your child’s illness lies with you. However, you can’t let guilt or fear derail you from the essential purpose of helping your child get healthy. When you place your child’s well-being front and center, you can push through feelings of self-doubt.
Young people begin drinking for a wide variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons, especially among young boys, is the urge to take risks. A common trait of young people, risk-taking doesn’t have to lead to dangerous or illegal activity. Encourage activities that feature manageable risks, such as kayaking or rock climbing. The positive feelings of athletic accomplishment will be much healthier than the short-term euphoria of alcohol intoxication.
The treatment regimens and interventions that show good results with adults may be less effective with teens. A mature alcoholic benefits from inpatient care, especially considering the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. For teens, though, the situation is quite different. Alcohol treatment for teens works best when the sufferer isn’t removed from the comfortable surroundings of home. The disruption of a treatment facility can lead to resentment and therefore isn’t always in the teen’s best interest. Supportive friends, teachers, and other family members should provide encouragement through every step of the recovery process.
In addition to short-term interventions, a broader plan of action must be enacted to ensure that your child doesn’t relapse. When teen drinking accompanies a psychiatric condition like major depression, the sufferer has what is known as a dual diagnosis. Trained therapists can work to get at the heart of the child’s mental illness, while simultaneously exploring the reasons for excessive drinking. Failure to address one of these intertwined conditions guarantees that neither will be fully resolved. In teens with dual diagnosis, individual therapy is highly successful in returning them to normal, fulfilling lives. Severe depression can also be lessened with anti-depressants, but therapists must be cautious about prescribing these medications to adolescents and teens.
Alcoholism takes the joy out of being young. Helping an alcoholic child rediscover sobriety is one of the best things you could ever do. If you’re still wondering how to help an alcoholic child, then call us and speak with a caring expert. National and local treatment centers are ready to provide the help that your child desperately needs.